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Open neural tube defects or myelomeningoceles are a common congenital condition caused by failure of closure of the neural tube early in gestation, leading to a number of neurologic sequelae including paralysis, hindbrain herniation, hydrocephalus and neurogenic bowel and bladder dysfunction. Traditionally, the condition was treated by closure of the defect postnatally but a recently completed randomized controlled trial of prenatal versus postnatal closure demonstrated improved neurologic outcomes in the prenatal closure group. Fetal surgery, or more precisely maternal-fetal surgery, raises a number of ethical issues that we address including who the patient is, informed consent, surgical innovation and equipoise as well maternal assumption of risk. As the procedure becomes more widely adopted into practice, we suggest close monitoring of new fetal surgery centers, in order to ensure that the positive results of the trial are maintained without increased risk to both the mother and fetus.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
Bipolar disorder is less prevalent in older people but accounts for 8–10% of psychiatric admissions. Treating and managing bipolar disorder in older people is challenging because of medical comorbidity. We review the cognitive problems observed in older people, explore why these are important and consider current treatment options. There are very few studies examining the cognitive profiles of older people with bipolar disorder and symptomatic depression and mania, and these show significant impairments in executive function. Most studies have focused on cognitive impairment in euthymic older people: as in euthymic adults of working age, significant impairments are observed in tests of attention, memory and executive function/processing speeds. Screening tests are not always helpful in euthymic older people as the impairment can be relatively subtle, and more in-depth neuropsychological testing may be needed to show impairments. Cognitive impairment may be more pronounced in older people with ‘late-onset’ bipolar disorder than in those with ‘early-onset’ disorder. Strategies to address symptomatic cognitive impairment in older people include assertive treatment of the mood disorder, minimising drugs that can adversely affect cognition, optimising physical healthcare and reducing relapse rates.
After reading this article you will be able to:
•understand that cognitive impairment in euthymic older people with bipolar disorder is similar to that in working-age adults with the disorder, affecting attention, memory and executive function/processing speeds
•recognise that cognitive impairment in older people is likely to be a major determinant of functional outcomes
•Implement approaches to treat cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder.
DECLARATION OF INTEREST
B.J.S. consults for Cambridge Cognition, PEAK (www.peak.net) and Mundipharma.
How gains from early childhood experiences are initiated, increased, sustained, and affect life-course development are fundamental to science and society. They also have increasing policy relevance, given public investments in early learning programs and the need to measure their effectiveness in promoting well-being. With contributions from leading researchers across many disciplines, this book emphasizes key interventions and practices over the first decade of life and the elements and strategies through which gains can be enhanced by schools, families, communities, and public institutions. Three critical themes are addressed: firstly, the importance of documenting and understanding the impact of investments in early childhood and school-age years. Secondly, increased priority on elements and principles for scaling effective programs and practices to benefit all children. Thirdly, a focus on multiple levels of strategies for sustaining gains and promoting long-term effects, ranging from early care and family engagement to school reform, state, and federal policy.